Irma weakens, but remains powerful, dangerous

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MIAMI, Texas (AP) Hurricane Irma made landfall Sunday afternoon on Marco Island, Fla., as a Category 3 hurricane.

The National Hurricane Center in Miam said the storm made landfall at 3:35 p.m.

Hurricane Irma became tied for the seventh strongest storm to make landfall in U.S. history by a key measurement of atmospheric pressure.

Hurricane Irma made landfall at Cudjoe Key at 9:10 a.m. with a minimum central pressure of 929 millibars.

Atmospheric pressure is one of the major measurements meteorologists use to describe storms.

The lower the pressure, the stronger the storm.

Only six storms on record had lower pressures when striking the United States, including Katrina.

When Katrina hit in 2005, it had lower pressure but its wind speed kept it at Category 3.

The 929 pressure mark ties Irma with the deadly 1928 Lake Okeechobee hurricane.

Irma's arrival also marks another first.

Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach says this is the first year on record that the United States has been hit by two storms that were Category 4 upon landfall: Harvey and Irma.

Florida Power & Light says it will be weeks, not days, before electricity is fully restored because of the damage being done by Hurricane Irma.

Spokesman Rob Gould said Sunday that an estimated 3.4 million homes and businesses will lose power once the worst of Irma reaches the Florida mainland.

He expects thousands of miles of poles and lines will need to be replaced, particularly on the Gulf coast.

As of Sunday afternoon, about 1.5 million customers were without power.

He said 17,000 restoration workers from as far away as California and Massachusetts are already stationed around the state, but it will take time to rebuild the system.

The utility covers much of the state, including most cities on the Atlantic coast and the Gulf coast south of Tampa.

It does not cover Tampa and St. Petersburg, two major cities in Irma's forecast path.

A meteorologist calculates that Hurricane Irma will dump about 10 trillion gallons of rain on Florida over a day-and-a-half time period.

That's about 500,000 gallons for every Florida resident.

Private meteorologist Ryan Maue of WeatherBell Analytics based his calculations on weather service forecasts.

He also calculates it will dump 6 trillion gallons on Georgia.

By comparison, Hurricane Harvey, which stalled over the Texas coast, dumped about 20 trillion gallons on Texas and 7 trillion gallons of rain on Louisiana in about five days.

One place around Houston got more than 50 inches of rain.

Irma is expected to crawl steadily through the Sunshine State.

The National Hurricane Center projects 15 to 20 inches of rain with spots up to 25 inches for the Florida Keys.

Western Florida is forecast to get 10 to 15 inches of rain, with as much as 20 inches in spots.

The rest of Florida and southeastern Georgia is projected to get 8 to 12 inches of rain, with isolated outbursts up to 16 inches.

High winds were impeding Miami authorities' ability to reach a construction crane toppled by Hurricane Irma.

The crane fell onto a high-rise building that's under construction in a bayfront area filled with hotels and high-rise condo and office buildings, near AmericanAirlines Arena.

Miami-Dade County Director of Communications Mike Hernandez said emergency personnel couldn't immediately respond to the scene because of high winds.

Authorities urged people to avoid the area after the Sunday morning collapse.

It wasn't clear if there were any injuries.

Miami City Manager Daniel Alfonso said the approximately two-dozen other cranes in the city are still upright and built to withstand significant wind gusts.

The tower cranes working on construction sites throughout the city were a concern ahead of Irma. Moving the massive equipment, weighing up to 30,000 pounds, is a slow process that would have taken about two weeks, according to city officials.

Cuba

CAIBARIEN, Cuba (AP)

Hurricane Irma ripped roofs off houses and flooded hundreds of miles of coastline as it raked Cuba's northern coast after devastating islands the length of the Caribbean in a trail of destruction that has left 22 people dead so far.

As Irma left Cuba late Saturday and directed its 120 mph winds toward Florida, authorities on the island were assessing the damage and warning of staggering damage to keys off the northern coast studded with all-inclusive resorts and cities, as well as farmland in central Cuba.

There were no immediate reports of deaths in Cuba - a country that prides itself on its disaster preparedness - but authorities were trying to restore power, clear roads and warning that people should stay off the streets of Havana because flooding could continue into Monday.

St. Maarten

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte says the death toll caused by Hurricane Irma on the Caribbean territory of St. Maarten has risen to four.

Rutte said Sunday, "unfortunately there are more victims to mourn" after the bodies of two people washed up on the island.

He says the identities of the victims are not yet known.

One of the four people listed as victims by the Dutch authorities died of natural causes as the Category 5 hurricane lashed St. Maarten, badly damaging or destroying 70 percent of homes on the Dutch part of the Caribbean island.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico's governor says there will be no classes on Monday because hundreds of schools still do not have power or water after the island took a hit from Hurricane Irma.

Ricardo Rossello said Sunday that more than 600 schools don't have power and more than 400 don't have water. Another nearly 400 schools don't have either, and dozens are flooded.

Nearly 600,000 people in the U.S. territory remain without power, representing 40 percent of customers of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority.

St. Martin, St. Barts

France's Interior Minister expressed relief that Hurricane Jose spared French Caribbean islands St. Martin and St. Barts further devastation.

Gerard Collomb, speaking at a press conference in Paris Sunday, said that Jose passed miles away.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for France's government defended its handling of the hurricane crisis in St. Martin and St. Barts amid criticism that many in the local population felt abandoned by authorities.

Christophe Castaner, speaking in an interview with Europe1-CNews-Les Echos on Sunday, said he "perfectly (understood) the anger" of residents after Hurricane Irma tore through the French Caribbean islands, killing several people, destroying houses and cutting off the water supply. Some shops were subsequently looted by locals.

But he insisted the means deployed by the government were robust - with emergency help given "first priority."